Lattes are so last year. As a matter of fact, so are cappuccinos and macchiatos.
At least, that's what the emergence of a new kind of coffee
bar suggests. Oh, this new breed has the requisite La Marzocco machines for those who really must have their shot, but the emphasis is on brewed coffee made using a variety of venerable counter-top contraptions, from the simple ceramic cone to the laboratory-like siphon, two glass bulbs perched above a Bunsen-burner. (Sorry, Mr. Coffee: the automatic drip still hasn't made a comeback.)
One of the latest entries into this category is WTF Coffee in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood. The bar, which opened late last year, is a sleek little storefront with no seating, only narrow shelf-like bars along the walls. All the action happens at the counter, where customers choose from a long menu of beans and roasts, and half a dozen ways to have that coffee brewed, including the siphon and pour-over cone, as well as the Chemex, a modernist hour-glass, and the more popular French press.
Billing itself as a "coffee lab," WTF invites patrons to watch as their java is made on the other side of a glass sheet. (Behind all of this, one might
catch a glimpse of the espresso machine.) Not coincidentally, owner Asio Highsmith, is also behind the nearby Hideout, a modern speakeasy that also draws an audience interested in old-fashioned, fussed-over drinks. A newcomer to coffee, Highsmith cast WTF as kind of café-cum-educational center, noting that all of its coffee-making devices are available online and most cost little more than $20 a piece. In a kind of anti-marketing pitch echoed at other home-style brew bars, he added that anyone could recreate their WTF experience home.